Is My Raphael Catfish Dying? Help

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by SiCkB0Y, Apr 15, 2019.

  1. SiCkB0Y New Member Member

    I am new to the forum. I have a rapheal catfish and about 2 months ago we acquired a 75 gallon tank for free. I purchased a cascade 1000 and cycled the tank for a month prior to placing him in it.

    His stomach has become black and I knew he was stressed but figured I'd give him a few days. As I checked the water levels the ammonia spiked and as well as the nitrate. I am not sure what would cause this as there wasnt anything introduced into the tank.

    I performed a 50% water change and checked regularly and after a few days everything was normal except his belly was alot darker than normal.

    I did add more aquascaping to the tank and a 3" PVC black pipe for a hiding place hoping to give him a better hiding spot so to help destroy him. Levels in the tank did not spike to anything of concern so I recently added 3 African cichlids. I noticed as I was adding them to the tank that my raph had a small white disc on his body.

    It's been a week now and the disc has gotten larger and now seems to have a open sore in the middle of it. My raph is pale and stomach is pure black. I need some help here as I dont want to lose this guy.

    I will note that before I added the additional fish, rocks and plants. We noticed the spot on his body but it was much smaller.

    Here are answers to the questions template.

    What is the water volume of the tank? 75g

    How long has the tank been running? 3 months

    Does it have a filter? Yes

    Does it have a heater? Yes

    What is the water temperature? 80°

    What is the entire stocking of this tank?

    3x African chiclids

    1x Raphael catfish


    How often do you change the water? Once a month

    How much of the water do you change? 25%

    What do you use to treat your water? Tap water conditioner

    Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? Just water

    *Parameters - Very Important

    Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? Yes

    What do you use to test the water? Master kit

    What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

    Ammonia: 0ppm

    Nitrite: 0pm

    Nitrate: 20ppm

    pH: 7.4


    How often do you feed your fish? Every 2 days

    How much do you feed your fish? 2 pinches of flakes for cichlids and 6 algae wafers for the raph

    What brand of food do you feed your fish? Aqueon

    Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? No

    Illness & Symptoms

    How long have you had this fish? 2 yrs

    How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? 3 weeks ago

    In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? Pale, sores, black belly

    Have you started any treatment for the illness? No

    Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? No

    How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? Much more pale

    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  2. SiCkB0Y New Member Member

    Here are some pics.

    Update:he is now swimming very actively but oddly, quick darting and quick turning. I have never seen him do this, is this normal?

    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
  3. Elkwatcher Valued Member Member

    Aren't your nitrates a little high? Maybe water change more often? I do 25 -30 % once a week and a 50% once a month. Works for me.

  4. SiCkB0Y New Member Member

    Yea it's at the max, now that I just recently added the new tank mates I plan on doing this more frequently. I just did the test before the post so water change is already in progress. I also have just recently added live plants to help with this.
  5. SiCkB0Y New Member Member

  6. MommaWilde Well Known Member Member

    Good morning,
    I'm sorry your Raphael is sick. What species is it? How big was his tank before this one?

    If he got used to high nitrates in the previous tank he could have been stressed from a kind of shock from such different water parameters.

    Moving forward, I would slowly drop the temp to about 76f as I believe 80 is too high for them long term. I would continue with weekly water changes of about 25%. Also I would treat with erythromycin to treat the sores. I would do these 3 things and see how he's doing after a week.

    Raphael cats often have big bellies, similar to a chipmunk stuffing its cheeks. You could try feeding 1-2 of his wafers each day or every other day and see if that gets his belly to a more healthy looking size to you.

    I hope some of this helps you. I previously had 9 spotted Raphael cats that I lost to a heater malfunction. That broke my heart. Now I have 5 juvenile striped Raphael's. They are little piggies. I hope your Raphael pulls through.
  7. SiCkB0Y New Member Member

    Thank you for replying, he is a striped Raphael. We have had him for 3 years and he was in a 10g tank... he was actually my girlfriend fish and I seemed to have adopted him.

    I do not believe he is eating anymore... i dropped some wafers in and they sat there. The cichlids seemed to have ate up some of them though. I will bring down the temp when I get home today and pick up some erythromycin on my way home. I'll keep you posted of his condition. Thanks again.
  8. MommaWilde Well Known Member Member

    How is your Raphael doing today?
  9. SiCkB0Y New Member Member

    He seems a bit better, I am.about to do another dose but I now am noticing little white dots on him. This isnt ick is it? 
  10. MommaWilde Well Known Member Member

    It does look like the start of ick. If you have some on hand I'd treat with the api ick cure or similar and keep the lights off while you treat.
    Poor baby. I hope he gets better.
  11. SiCkB0Y New Member Member

    The parasites have fallen off, raph seems less stressed out and his color is back. Still Not eating though, at least not that I have seen. The 3 cichlids and the raph have been in 86° for about a week now. The cichlids are eating and have plenty of energy but their color seems to be fading.. is this normal?? I plan to run the tank at 86°for one more week and we should be good.